Reviews

2017 Chevrolet Malibu Introduction


Chevrolet Malibu was completely redesigned for the 2016 model year. No longer a humdrum midsize sedan, the Malibu gained a new body structure, lost 300 pounds, and reached a new plateau in road manners, far removed from its predecessor. It’s an excellent example of the forward strides the Detroit Three automakers have made lately.

A 9-speed automatic transmission has been added to the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu Premier trim.

The new 9-speed works with the strongest Malibu engine: a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that develops 250 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. That Premier 2.0-liter makes a worthy substitute for a V6.

Most models hold a 1.5-liter turbo four, rated at 163 horsepower and 184 pound-feet, working with a 6-speed automatic. 2017 Malibu LT and LS radios gain Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, along with a Teen Driver feature. A new Sport package is available.

For peak fuel-efficiency, Chevrolet continues to offer a Malibu Hybrid. A 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, rated at 182 horsepower, teams with dual electric motors and a battery pack.

While the 2016 reworking lengthened the Malibu by several inches, it’s still near the smaller end of its vehicle category. Base L trim level targets fleet buyers. In the showroom, customers can choose a Malibu LS, LT, Premier, or Hybrid.

Malibu has earned a five-star overall crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with four stars for rollover (a calculated figure). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it a Top Safety Pick award. Except for the base L model, a rearview camera is standard. All Malibus have 10 airbags.

Quite a few active-safety features are available, but mainly for LT and Premier editions. A Front Pedestrian Alert can identify pedestrians ahead, and brake automatically. Adaptive cruise control works with front automatic braking. Also offered are blind-spot monitoring with lane-change alert, rear cross-traffic alert, and active lane keep with lane-departure warning. Unlike some safety systems, those on the Malibu function subtly, yet firmly. Front and rear parking sensors are available, as is automatic parking assist.

Malibus with the 1.5-liter engine are EPA-rated at 27/36 mpg City/Highway, or 30 mpg Combined. With the 2.0-liter turbo, estimates dip substantially to 22/33 mpg City/Highway, or 26 mpg. At the other extreme, the Hybrid is EPA-rated at 49/43 mpg City/Highway, or 46 mpg Combined.

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